Nov. 4, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - Junior Reed Williams scored his team-leading sixth goal of the year as the fourth-ranked Bruins and California Golden Bears played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night at Drake Stadium.
UCLA is now 12-2-3 on the year after the tie and 7-1-1 in Pac-12 play. Despite the draw, the Bruins can still win the Pac-12 championship with a win on Friday against San Diego State. UCLA can also claim the Pac-12 title if Oregon State earns a win or a tie with Washington on Friday. California moved to 8-6-3 overall and 3-4-2 in the conference with the tie.
The Bruins really pushed the attack forward from the opening kickoff and were able to dominate possession for the majority of the first half. But the Golden Bears would be the ones to find that first goal when Alec Sundly picked up a loose ball in the box and fired one into the net for a goal in the 41st minute. UCLA would not find an equalizer before the half ended and Cal took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Bruins again pushed the tempo and found that equalizer in the 54th minute, when Williams took a headed down pass from senior Evan Raynr in the box and scored far post to even the match at 1-1. From there the Bruins continually generated chance after chance, again earning the majority of possession and putting Cal back on their heels. The best chance came in the 60th minute, when senior Fernando Monge controlled a corner kick in the box and attempted to curl one to the near post. But his shot went just inches wide of the goal and the match stayed tied at 1-1. UCLA would not be able to find that go-ahead goal in regulation and the match went to overtime.
The frantic pace continued in overtime and UCLA almost was able to end the match when senior Ryan Hollingshead broke away from the defense and poked a shot to the far post. His shot beat Cal keeper Kevin Peach, but defender Christian Dean was able to clear it off the line before it entered the net. Cal had a golden chance as well with just a minute to go in the first overtime when Tony Salciccia found himself one-on-one with Bruin goalie Earl Edwards. Salciccia went far post, but Edwards made a tremendous save to deflect the ball just wide of the goal, keeping the match tied at 1-1 after the first overtime.
In the second overtime, UCLA again generated some great chances in the early going, highlighted by Monge blasting a shot on net in the 105th minute. But again Peach was there to make the save to keep the match level. Raynr also had a chance to end the match when he broke away down the right side of the field and put a shot on goal. The shot went right at Peach though and he knocked it away from danger.
Finally with the match seemingly headed for a tie, Cal almost scored with just 15 seconds remaining when a corner kick went through to the far post to Ryan Neil. He found himself right in front of goal but his shot clanged off the post and the match ended in a 1-1 tie.
Overall, the Bruins outshot the Golden Bears by a wide margin of 28-11. Edwards made two saves on the evening while Peach made five.
"It wasn't the result we were looking forward tonight and unfortunately we couldn't clinch the conference title," head coach Jorge Salcedo said after the match. "Our opportunities were numerous, but we just couldn't find a way to score the game-winning goal. We continue to control what will happen in the conference though and look forward to having a good week of training and getting ready for San Diego State on Friday."
UCLA (12-2-3, 7-1-1 Pac-12) will try to win the conference crown in their final match of the regular season on Friday, Nov. 9 against San Diego State (7-8-3, 1-6-2 Pac-12) at 1:30 pm. The match will be played out at Drake Stadium and televised live by the Pac-12 Networks.